Help all ye Triplanar Gurus

I received my Triplanar VII U2 from Singapore over the weekend and I may have screwed up big time while mounting the arm.Basically, the screw that adjusts the height of the cueing platform broke in the hole with the screw head coming off,with the result that if I use the cueing platform to lower the arm on the record it seems to descend from Mt. Everest. Manually lowering the Lyra Skala on the record is not good for my health.
Have sent a mail to Triplanar and also the Dealer(Audio Note, Singapore).
I doubt if any A'goners have experienced a similar situation but there is no harm in asking.You have to be particularly cretin like to have achieved what I have done.
Am also unable to align the cart using the Best tractor supplied by my friend Yip in Hong Kong coz the mounting holes on the wooden armband are a bit askew. This can and will be resolved.
Will appreciate any help/ advise to lift my deep depression.
Many thanks

The proper method to remove a broken off screw is to grind the butt end flat, drill a hole (by hand) into it, tap reverse threads into that hole and insert a matching, reverse-threaded rod. Screwing the rod in (counter-clockwise) will safely back the broken screw out without damaging the original hole or threads.

The two challenges are the small diameter of the cueing height screw and the difficulty of clamping the piece it screws into without damaging the arm. This is do-able for someone with the right tools and skills, but don't try it yourself unless you've done similar work before. You might turn an annoyance into a disaster. Worst case is having to drill out the entire screw and re-tapping the hole for a larger screw.

You need a good machinist or (better) a skilled watchmaker who still uses traditional tools, like Herb Papier was. My partner's dad would have enjoyed helping you. He was a master tool and die maker and a wizard with small tools. The obvious choice is Tri Mai himself. If he doesn't respond to your email try calling him.


P.S. Not to salt the wound, but that screw just presses against a rod. It needs to be snug, not tight. As Frank Schroeder likes to say, the next step after really tight, is really loose. :-(
Doug, He says he broke "the screw that adjusts the height of the cueing platform", not the set screw, which stabilizes the vertical shaft in place, once one has adjusted VTA, and which seems to be the one you describe. Fixing the set screw would be a piece of cake compared to fixing the actual VTA adjuster. I hope I'm wrong for Sunnyboy's sake. But in any case, I would guess that Tri can fix it.
Absolutely a no brainer. Send it to Tri. Maybe someday I'll send mine to him to replace the stock arm rest. Or, maybe not. ;-)
My read is that we're all talking about the set screw which locks in the cueing height bar and not the knurled VTA tower locking screw.

No matter ... Sunnyboy speaks of a set screw, and even if we're misunderstanding him, the procedure for backing out any stripped or frozen screw is as Doug describes. Furthermore, he needs someone with the tools and skill level to do this for him.

The exception to the above involves a total disaster which would involve having to enlarge the hole and either replacing the existing screw with the next larger size, or alternatively installing a helicoil (if they exist in such small sizes) in order to use the same size screw.

What town do you live in, Sunnyboy?

There might be someone on this list with a connection to a good machinist. You might well save a whole lot of time in shipping and such.

Thom @ Galibier
Dear Thom, Just where in his post does Sunnyboy use the words "set" and "screw" consecutively? I do have to admit that as I re-read the post it does SOUND like he broke the set screw. I just want to be sure I'm not losing my marbles.

The "screw that adjusts the height of the cueing platform" threads into the back end of a square bracket sitting atop the silicone-filled cueing tower. It presses against the vertical rod that rises out of that tower and it is a set screw - just not the one you're thinking of.

No one referred to the VTA adjuster, nor does the VTA set screw press against a rod. It pulls the internal mechanism against the outer shell of the tower, quite different from what I described.
I know what you mean; I just didn't know what Sunnyboy meant. It should be much less expensive to repair the set screw than to repair the VTA adjustor (which is also a "screw"), so I hope you are correct. Anyway, we all agree he should go to Tri Mai with the problem.
No, you're not losing your marbles Lew. Like Doug, I knew the assembly he was referring to.

It's a tiny set screw, btw, using an .050" Allen wrench.

I suspect that this will have to be helicoil'd. I just checked the McMaster Carr website, and note that stainless helicoils are stocked down to a 2-56 thread size.

Looking at the standard range of set screws, it looks as if the screw in question is a 4-40 (one size larger than a 2-56). I say this because a 4-40 uses an .050 hex wrench.

So, the good news is that the parts exist to do the job.

Thom @ Galibier
Too bad Herb's up in hifi heaven. He could fix it in 10 minutes and yell at you while doing so. Or he would just replace the whole broken part of the tonearm using something he found on his workbench.
I would've assumed as much, that the set screw in question was an Allen Screw.

I would also assume Triplanar provides a compliment of the correct size Allen Wrenches needed for the Arm, correct?

Not to be insulting to our friend here, the original poster, who now has this problem, but I would as well assume Triplanar isn't using Threadlocker, so how does such a thing happen? Did they install the Screw with Gorilla-like force?

I'd probably send the Arm direct back to Triplanar. Even though this could be claimed user-error, something sounds amiss here, that anyone could have difficluty with this, and I'm hoping Triplanar sees this more as being thier fault, if the screw was installed with too much torque, or the threaded Hole was not machined correctly, that one would need such force to lossen, to then strip the Screw. Mark
I just checked further on the McMaster Carr site.

To set the record straight, it's one of two sizes - 3-48 or 4-40. Both sizes use a .050 hex key.

Look at this site:
Search on part numbers: 97705A226 and 92311A089

Thom @ Galibier
Thanks fellas for responding.Thank God its not the VTA screw. That would have been the mother of all audio disasters, from my narrow perspective. Its the small probably no more than 2mm dia screw sitting atop the cylinder which houses the fluid for the cueing platform. I guess I screwed up literally. A small cautionary note in the instruction manual to be careful could have warned a novice like me.
I live in New Delhi, India and its not practical to send the arm anywhere ,not if I want to see it again.
Using the supplied allen hex head screw driver to work on the broken bit have managed to nudge the cueing platform a wee bit lower so its no longer Mt. Everest I am grappling with but a more user friendly mountain. As the broken screw is flush with the surrounding walls there is not enough grip for the allen key but some movement is possible.
Following the excellent advice of knowledgeable A'goners, Doug and Thom, will take the arm to a watch maker who should have the tools to prise out the broken screw bit. The dealer in Singapore has promised to supply the replacement screws. Have asked for spares coz you never know.

you are making several assumptions. This thread is not supposed to be locked. It is expected that this adjustment be made for each setup. I would bet that the OP went a bit overboard when snugging this screw back up.

You all should see the tiny, tiny allen set screws that used on a Basis Vector for different adjustments. One can easily strip out the walls of the screw or the tiny allen wrench supplied by Basis.

This is all part of learning to do things yourself. And there is a certain amount of mechanical aptitude that goes along with this.

Just for extra information on extracting broken screws. They make left handed drill bits (McMaster Carr or MSC Industrial Supply). If you have to drill out a screw for any of the aforementioned procedures, use a left handed (the spiral is opposite from what you normally see) bit turning counterclockwise in a drill motor or hand drill. Most of the time the drill will hang a little on the screw as it starts to penetrate and back the screw right out.

For the little delicate work like your describing, they also make pin vises. A small, hand held chuck for tiny and delicate drill work.

It won't help Sunnyboy because of his location (hard to access US Supply houses), but might come in handy for you guys.

And yes, I worked as a Tool & Die Maker for GE and tools were my life at that time. All kinds of weird and handy little widgets out there.

Jim S.
Hello Dan_ed, Yes, I understand, tiny set screws like this don't stand up to too much abuse. Often, an Allen Wrench has to be coaxed to fully seat into the screw before one applies any pressure.

I'm not sure about the TriPlanar, having never owned one (yet), but these screws may not be Stainless Steel, so even more care must be excersized, being a softer metal.

Wise suggestion about the left hand drill bits, and hopefully, our friend here will find the right person, and that he can carefully extract the bad screw.

Please keep us posted my friend how this all turns out.
I know it's a magnificent arm, and that you're wanting to enjoy it. Mark
Stainless Steel is really not that strong either, but that is beside the point.
Stainless can be strong if you pick the right alloy and heat treat.
A quick update : have yet to receive a response from Triplanar.Interestingly, neither has the dealer ! Just shows that even if you make the best tonearm in the world you can still aspire to the worst customer service on the planet. This is not bad service but a complete disregard of the customer. Compare this with my parallel experience with the Tube Store. Ordered and paid for a quad set of tubes online. Much after my purchase, the Tube Store decides to reduce price and guess what they decide to pass on the discount post purchase. Wow I have never encountered customer service or concern at this level of excellence. Jon at the Tube Store gets all my business going forward.
It never ceases to amaze me how people can expect support just like calling Sear's from cottage industry suppliers. I doubt that Tri has even a part-time assistant and I'd be very surprised if making Triplanars is his main source of income. Hell, maybe he's on vacation.

Perhaps this is an inconvenience for you after you broke your new tonearm, but in this hobby not getting a reply for a couple of weeks is not that bad. (Try giving a well respected manufacturer money and not getting anything for two years with no delivery date in sight.)

Careful where you throw those stones. Some may bounce back and whack you in the forehead.
I agree with you Sunnyboy, after spending dough like that on a tonearm it seems reasonable to expect a reply to your question within two weeks. Cottage manufacturer or not, there is an ethical responsibility to stand behind what you sell or at least be upfront about it.
Tri is a very honorable man. You might fairly criticize the fact that he is tardy in this instance in responding to Sunnyboy's messages. But that does not equate to a lack of honor. Tri has sent me stuff prior to receiving payment, and he is always helpful and enthusiastic when contacted by phone. Sunnyboy, if possible you might try calling him. I realize this may be awkward to do from Singapore, due to the time differential, but you might get quicker responses to your inquiry.
Well, selling Digital equipment created winners on both sides ... :)
Sunnyboy1956, I've known Tri a very long time and this story did not sound right, so I gave him a call. Turns out their emai l has been down the last month or so and they are in the middle of changing ISPs (and apparently, doing a whole lot of contruction at the same time).

He told me that he thought sending the screw was not likely going to be enough, as he thought that the platform was likely damaged too, so had sent (apparently fairly recently) the screw and a new platform to your dealer.
Good on you, Ralph!
So much for questions about Tri's integrity.
The phone is always the best method for service issues because you never really know if e-mail makes it.

Tri's integrity wasn't questioned (but now the whole ISP excuse makes one wonder). I challenged the supposition that cottage industry vendors shouldn't be expected to provide good customer service and that waiting for 2 weeks for a response was reasonable.
Tri's integrity wasn't questioned (but now the whole ISP excuse makes one wonder). I challenged the supposition that cottage industry vendors shouldn't be expected to provide good customer service and that waiting for 2 weeks for a response was reasonable.

Well, you didn't question his integrity. But now that you have a reasonable explanation you are going to do just that?

So, what is your experience dealing with Tri?

C'mon people!
I never questioned anyone's integrity !!If Tri has done as stated I offer my unconditional apologies and thanks. Just goes to show what a wonderful forum A'gon is with a truly great bunch of guys ( well most of them...!!).
This is not bad service but a complete disregard of the customer.

Did you not post this?

I understand completely your frustration with the situation. But you obviously jumped to a worst cast conclusion without getting all the facts. You publicly raked this man's hide over hot coals. I hope you understand who it is that stepped in to help you (and help Tri) by contacting Tri on your behalf. I only wish you had asked around here about what others think of Tri and his business practices before going off on him.

It is justified at times. I have had to do just such a thing recently on another public forum. In my case it was after giving this person $2K and not getting anything but the run around for 2 years. To make this story short, it eventually came out in the forum that I may have been waiting the longest but I was one of many who had the same problem with this person. That public thrashing did help in that situation and I believe people are getting their orders. Matter of fact, mine is due in the shipping terminal today.

I wish you the best of luck getting your Triplanar fixed and most definitely get that mounting issue straightened. The MintLP is most definitely worth being able to use.

I was fairly well surprised at the path this thread has taken in the weeks since I last visited it.

When I last visited this topic, it was privately, in response to an e-mail you sent me. I commented to you privately about the fact that your dealer makes a markup and part of this is earned by handling customer service issues.

I further explained the reality of small manufacturing to you, and while I didn't state it explicitly, perhaps I should have mentioned that a "proper" customer service organization costs money and would be reflected in a retail price that would likely add $1,000 to the price of every tonearm. This is reality.

Whether your dealer actually tried to contact Tri Mai is something you never called into question. You took his word at face value and yet chose to soil Tri-Planar's name on this forum. I find this "interesting" as well, but will let this one slide as evidence of your frustration.

Dan and Ralph have explained this in public for you as well. Perhaps this is a language problem, but you do yourself no favors in spending time posting on this forum when you could easily pick up the telephone.

I'm not trying to be harsh, and I understand your frustration at the sinking feeling of having stripped a thread.

I would bet that every one of us on this thread has learned about working with a steel screw tapped into aluminum the hard way.

I would further bet that each and every one of us was frustrated at a minimum. Some of us were lucky and did not do this to a $4,700 tonearm. I learned on an aluminum cylinder head years ago :-(

We are sympathetic, but Dan, Ralph and many others on this thread take exception to the manner in which you have approached the problem.

Others disagree. To those of you who do, I suggest that you take up a pool amongst all perspective Triplanar owners to pay the true economic cost of a customer service organization for a small, cottage industry.

I suggest that you take a deep breath, re-read this thread, and get on the phone with Tri Mai. He is a man up extraordinary integrity. If you search the archives for posts of mine, you'll note that I do not treat such a statement lightly.

Thom @ Galibier

Well, selling Digital equipment created winners on both sides ... :)

Whether or not you hid behind an emoticon, your snarky post is helpless at best.

I will exercise my faith in human nature and assume you hit "send" prematurely.

Thom @ Galibier
Thom, I'm sure you've meant no disrespect, or ill will against Sunnyboy, and sometimes it appears the written word is harsher than it actually is.

Possible that he didn't not go into full detail of the extent of which he, and his dealer tried contacting Tri Mai?

There's of course two sides to a coin, and you as a manufacturer yourself perhaps see things in a different light, than an end user does.

I don't believe Sunny tried sullying anyone's reputation, and I strongly doubt TriPlanar's reputation, or sales have been affected by his posts, which were not in any way untruths. Frustration, yes, I'd probably be pretty darn frustrated as well.

I would assume dealing with certain manufacturers abroad would not be easy for a person living in New Delhi India. I've spoken personally with Sunny on a couple of occasions, he has perfect command of the English Language.

I guess we as humans cannot sometimes forsee, or be mind readers to know why these difficulties occur. Yri Mai could have just as easily had a death, or emergency in the family, could've been on vacation, a business trip, etc.

I think Sunny was wise, coming into this forum, and asking of our help, advice, and thoughts. The way I think, I think it is very good that people such as yourself come to this forum, and you can offer good personal, professional experience. I am greatful that folks such as yourself participate here.

Beacause of folks such as yourself, and many helpful others here, I now see a happy ending to Sunny's problems. And again, I see no harm done to Tri Mai's reputation, or quality of his products, quite the contrary. Mark
I think Sunny was wise, coming into this forum, and asking of our help, advice, and thoughts.

Wise, yes. Right up until his post of 11/20 when panic set in and he started his little temper tantrum about poor customer service.

I don't believe Sunny tried sullying anyone's reputation

That's not how I read his posts, but you and everyone are certainly entitled to an opinion.
>>I don't believe Sunny tried sullying anyone's reputation<<


Perhaps you should re-read Sunny's 11/20 post.

Seems quite clear.
I read this thread exactly as Dan and Audiofeil did, and the post of 11/20 really surprised me - this, after the extensive private coaching I took Sunnyboy through - for someone who is not even my customer.

We now learn that Markd51 has also gone out of his way to help a member of our analog tribe. This is a great and helpful group of individuals, and Markd51 went the extra mile to help Sunnyboy.

My bullshit meter pinned to the right side of the dial however, (it's an analog meter after all) when I read Sunnyboy's 11/20 post.

Sunnyboy not doubt panicked, and this likely resulted in his hasty post, but I still am completely puzzled why he let his dealer off the hook when the time came to ascribe responsibility. In my experience, dealers are the weak link in the distribution chain, and this dealer was getting a free ride, IMHO.

I have to admit, that in these conversations with him as well as how the early part of this thread unfolded had me thinking about a dealer who had neither the interest in earning their markup nor the competence to do so by helping Sunnyboy recover from his error.

One of the reasons I've been very slow to adopt a dealer distribution model is because of the vulnerability it exposes one to - being able to count on your dealer network to support your product in a competent and ethical manner.

In the old days, an analog dealer knew more than than just how to mount a tonearm and dial in a cartridge. I am friendly with a dealer in Ft. Collins for example who recently went to his drill press and tapped some holes to solve a problem.

This is a disappearing breed ...

Thom @ Galibier
Mark :
thanks for a dispassionate and objective post and indeed taking the trouble of speaking up for me. I had made up my mind not to respond but on further reflection I find some of the innuendos and insinuations deeply offensive. For example to impugn someone's lingustic skills or language comprehension just because they are born/live in some other part of the world.........!!
Lets just stick to the facts as I know them. Its been close to 4 weeks and in this period neither my dealer nor I, till the point of posting this response, have received any response from the manufacturer. IOWs there has been no happy ending. Given the absence of any communication from the manufacturer, I have no idea where this will lead. I have sent 3 mails the last of which bounced, therefore I can probably infer that with some probability the first two mails could have reached. I did not send a flurry of mails coz I was advised by a private mail that I should leave it to the dealer to resolve the matter. I have no idea how many mails the dealer sent but given the rather obvious fact that the dealer is in an ongoing commercial relationship with the manufacturer I imagine he has the means to make contact. I am told though again I have no basis to substantiate it, this particular dealer is probably the largest seller of Triplanar tone arms in Asia. The dealer has offered to locate the screws locally in Singapore if I can get the arm to him. This is a dealer devised solution. I have an excellent relationship with the dealer and I suspect a high degree of mutual respect.
Making a telephone call is not an option for me given a time difference of 13+ hrs.
Now if you were in my shoes, you would feel pretty peeved and how would you classify this customer service? For the record let me state that the Triplanar(not that its necessary to repeat the obvious)is one of the finest tonearms in the world and I am proud to own one.
I would request that we close this thread at this point.
>>Making a telephone call is not an option for me given a time difference of 13+ hrs<<

BS and that's a lame cop out.

If you were seriously interested in contacting Tri you would have inconvenienced yourself a bit and made the call.

Yes, it probably would have been at the expense of a full night's sleep. Big deal. Those of us with kids know that drill all too well.

No sympathy here Biff.
Sorry to hear your story Audiofeil.

Let me introduce myself.
I am William Lillmars, agent 002
at Tri-Planar Precision Tonearms.
I know that Tri doesn't spend much time
on Audiogon, but I am here to help.
Any questions you need answered, feel free to
contact me on Audiogon or by phone.
Please request phone by private mail.

Wm Lillmars
Wm. Lillmars,

I suggest you read the entire thread.

Sunnyboy1956 is whom you should be addressing.